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Torque Hinge Technology

How Free-Stop Can Work for You

We have been asked by several clients, “what is Motion Design Tech®?” It is one of Sugatsune’s core competencies and serves as the guiding light for R&D to develop new products. It stands for motion designed with technology. Put simply, it is the culmination of the company’s expertise in damper and torque technologies combined with power assist features, stopping technology and a love for creating unique solutions. Wait, torque technology? Is that something you find in a car? Well, yes, but for us it’s the baseline principal that allows hinges to maintain a position without the restrictions of a mechanical detent. This is what we refer to as “Free-stop.” The key in the mechanism is the hinge axis that creates friction to provide resistance support. This prevents a component from moving unwantedly.

There are four basic mechanisms used to create this friction; a curl mechanism, a disk mechanism, a pipe mechanism and what is often referred to as an Omega clip mechanism. The simplest of the four, and one that launched Sugatsune into the torque hinge business, is the curl mechanism. It is based on a shaft wrapped with a spring sheet that generates friction when the shaft rotates. Our HG-TQA is an example of this in application. The main advantage of this mechanism is its simplicity, which allows for designs to be smaller as well as being a lower cost option to develop. The problem with this mechanism is that the feeling that users get during operation is different between opening and closing of the hinge.

A more popular mechanism is one that is found in our HG-ITHJ and top selling HG-TA/ TB torque hinges. These incorporate movable disks that are sandwiched between fixed disks from which the friction is generated when the movable disks rotate. Innately, this mechanism is slimmer and can be used in narrow spaces however, the hinge axis has a larger diameter compared to others that produce the same amount of toque. An alternative, are hinges the incorporate a pipe mechanism which uses a shaft that is press-fitted into a plastic tube that generates torque as the shaft rotates. Found in our HG-TP and HG-KNT hinges, this grease-less mechanism is also compact in size and can be installed either vertically or horizontally. The downside is that this type of hinge shouldn’t be used in environments with varying degrees of temperature as the amount of torque can change as the plastic pipe expands and contracts.

A more advanced type of mechanism is the clip type, which generates friction as rounded clips rotate along a shaft. A benefit of this design is that it’s easy to control the amount of friction that can be generated by simply adding or removing clips. It can also generate more friction than the other types and with its constant torque, has a long life cycle. Great for customized solutions. Sugatsune features this technology in its recently launched HG-TMH dual axis torque hinge.

HG-TMH and Application

Sugatsune offers a large line up of torque hinges with a wide range of torque levels. Along with the company’s expertise and customization capabilities, industrial engineers can be assured that Sugatsune will help them to find the right solution for their applications. Contact our expert team at (800) 562-5267 to help with your development and visit us at www.sugatsune.com to see our more than 6,000 standard products that are stocked locally in the U.S.A.

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